Chances are, as an experienced internet user, you prefer fast websites to slow ones. If your business is hosted on WordPress, then it’s probably your goal to land in the former category.
Fewer people will leave your website if it loads quickly, search engines will be happier with you, and most importantly, your bottom line will benefit. WordPress could do a better job of helping websites load fast, though.
A fast WordPress website is essential. This guide includes tips and tricks for speed optimization, starting with the first 10 parts. The rest will be covered in future blogs.
Why should you speed up WordPress?
If I’m checking out a new website and it loads slowly, I immediately click off of it. And I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment — site performance has a big effect on the user experience, which in turn affects how visitors judge the quality of an online business.
In today’s age, time is of the essence, and this also goes for page speed. Google suggests that your website should load in two seconds or less; any slower and viewers will likely become disinterested. Furthermore, page performance plays a part in ranking factors used by search engines such as Google. Therefore, the quicker your site loads, the more probable it is that you’ll achieve a high spot on the SERP.
Unfortunately, WordPress is not quick by default. Part of the reason for this slow loading time has to do with how WordPress works: Whenever someone visits a page on your site, WordPress pulls data from different sources- such as your WordPress database and theme files–and combines it all into an HTML file. This process of “building pages on the fly” isn’t always efficient in terms of speed.
Furthermore, WordPress themes and plugins utilize valuable server resources, even if you’re not actively using them on your site. Too many processes running simultaneously on your web server will deplete its resources, slow down your pages, and turn away conversions.
Many of the ways to speed up WordPress are easy and don’t require any knowledge of coding, while others might necessitate adding a plugin or altering code. You could start seeing benefits after completing only a handful of these steps. Let’s not delay any further and get started immediately.
1. Run performance tests.
To see where your site stands regarding performance, we must first understand a few things. There is no one metric that encompasses everything because every visitor’s experience varies depending on their geographic region, internet connection strength, and whether your site is cached by their browser.
The speed of each page on your website will differ based on the amount and types of content present. Homepages are generally used to estimate a website’s load speed, but you should also test other high-traffic pages.
Testing your site’s performance with a free tool like GTMetrix or Google Page Speed Score can give you a more accurate estimate. Just paste your home page URL into the testing site and see how well it performs. These tools often provide suggestions on ways to improve speed, so you can test again after implementing their recommendations.
Check your site’s performance regularly, especially after adding any new features. This will ensure that your website can still load pages quickly compared to other sites.
2. Choose a reliable hosting provider.
If you want a fast WordPress site, then quality web hosting is key. Make sure to choose both a reputable hosting provider and a plan that can handle your bandwidth and performance needs. Most WordPress hosts offer various types of hosting: shared, dedicated, virtual private server (VPS), and managed WordPress plans.
With WordPress hosting, you usually get what you pay for. For example, on one end of the spectrum is shared hosting. These plans let multiple people host their website(s) on the same server. The benefit to this option is that it’s very cheap; however, your website’s performance will diminish if another site stored on the same server gets a lot traffic because then you’re both utilizing the same resources.
If your website is older with more content, and you have increased traffic regularly, then you should look for a dedicated hosting plan. This will give you enough server resources so that your load time isn’t affected when traffic spikes.
If you need more information you can contact us and get our consultation for your required hosting.
3. Keep Your WP Dashboard Updated
As a WordPress administrator, you should get used to updates because they are inevitable. Not only does updating WordPress core, themes and plugins help your site run more efficiently, but it also helps keep your site secure and functioning properly.
4. Use the latest version of PHP.
PHP powers all WordPress websites and is a server-side scripting language, meaning that its files are stored and executed on the web server that hosts your site. Like themes and plugins, PHP also releases occasional updates to run more efficiently, which helps your pages load faster.
The most recent stable version of PHP is from 2015, called PHP 7. Your website will perform much better if it’s using this version rather than an older one like PHP 6. If you’re not sure which version your site is using, look at your hosting documentation or contact customer support. Lastly, if it turns out you aren’t running PH 7, ask your host to upgrade for you
5. Delete unused plugins.
Although it might be tempting to install as many WordPress plugins as possible, resist that urge. More isn’t always better in this case – each plugin installed is like miniature software running on your site. Too many can bog down load times or unnecessarily use resources, even if you’re not currently using them. Do a spring cleaning of sorts and deactivate any plugins you no longer need or aren’t using regularly.
First, deactivate any plugins you know you won’t use again. Test your site after each deactivation, then delete the plugins if everything is still functioning properly. Next, deactivate the plugins one by one to see which ones make a difference in speed. Finally, consider finding lighter alternatives to these problematic plugins.
6. Install Premium plugins only.
After you’re finished weeding out the unneeded plugins, only keep the high-functioning ones. The perfect WordPress plugin uses server resources wisely and efficiently as well as doesn’t take up much precious storage space. Furthermore, these types of plugins are updated regularly to maintain compatibility with any WordPress core updates.
You can find trusted and performance-friendly plugins by checking reputable recommendation lists. Usually, these lists take into account how well each plugin is built and maintained. Likewise, you should check reviews and feedback for any complaints of poor performance before installing a new plugin. To be sure, re-run performance tests after activating any new plugins.
7. Use a Trusted and Lightweight Theme
Having a WordPress theme with too many images and effects could be putting an unneeded strain on your web server. themes that are Cool-looking are often packed with high-quality, However, they come at What you pay for may not always be what you want. Many of these effects can require excessive amounts of code and some themes have been created inefficiently –increasing file sizes which leads to decreased page performance.
Instead, choose a basic theme that only has the required features for your pages. You can always add more later on through plugins or custom CSS code if you want to.
8. Optimize Your Images.
Resize your images appropriately to improve website load times. Large image files are one of the primary causes of WordPress site slowdown, so be sure to compress them without reducing quality. By doing this, you’ll help save space and keep users from straining their eyes when they visit your site.
9. Try lazy loading your Media
If your WordPress has a lot of images, you can also use lazy loading. Rather than showing all pictures on a page when it’s first loaded, which typically takes longer, only the photos in the user’s browser window appear while the rest are delayed until they scroll down.
Lazy loading is an important tool to make your website appear to load faster. This happens because content loads gradually as a user scrolls, instead of all at once. Lazy loading can be applied not only to images but also to other media like video embeds and even text or comments on a page.
10. Use 3rd Party Server for Media
If you’re planning on hosting videos on your website, be aware that they are some of the most space-intensive objects you can store. Videos can drastically slow down your page if not properly optimized, so it’s advised to only host a few at a time.
Although videos are a great way to engage potential customers, you shouldn’t Depend on them entirely. Instead of saving videos in your media library, use an establishment such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia that can handle the storage for you. All you have to do is add the video onto your page with some embed code; it makes no difference to viewers (they’ll see the same thing), but your UX will be noticeably better.
Speed Optimization is vital for any website. This was the first part of our Speed Guide, with more information to come in future blog posts. Stay tuned!
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